F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

21. P.obovata Maximowicz, Prim. Fl. Amur. (in Mem. Acad. Sc. St. Petersb. 9) 29 . 1859). Regel, Reisen Süden Ost-Sibir. Radde 124 (1861), et Fl. Ussur. 13 (1862) ; Fr. Schmidt, Reisen Amw-Lande und Ins. Sachalln (in Mem. Acad. Sc. St. Petersb., Ser 7, 12), 109 (1868); Baker in Gard. Chron., N. Ser. 21, 779 (1884) ; Forbes & Hemsley in Journ. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 23, 22 (1886) ; Huth in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 14, 266 (1891); Maximowicz in Bull. Acad. Sc. St. Pitersb. 31, 13 (1887), et Mil. Biol. 12, 416 (1893) ; Korshinsky in Acta Horti PetroP.12, 302 (1892) ; Huth in Bull. Herb. Boiss. 5, 1095 (1897) ; Boissier, ibid. 7, 6oi (1899) ; Res. Hart. 1899, P.565, fig. 238 ; Freyn in Oesterr. Bot. Zeit. 1901, P.382 ; Komarov, Fl. Mansh. 2, 226 (1903) ; Vilmorin, Hort. Vilm. (in Bull. Soc. Bot. France, 51, App.) 82, fig. 23 (1906) ; Somoku Dzusetsu, Ed. Makino, 10, t. 22 (1910); Gard. Chron., Ser. 3, 57, 290, fig. 94 (1915) ; Terasaki, Nippon Shokubutsu Zufu {JaP.Bot. III. Album), t. 288 (1933) ; Komarov, Fl. U.R.S.S. 7, 27 (1937); F. C. Stem in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 128 (1943).Syn. P.obovata var. alba Saunders in Nat. Hort. Mag. 13, tab., P.227 (1934). P.obovata var. amurensis Schipczinsky in Not. Syst. Herb. Hort. Bot. PetroP.2, 44 (1921). P.obovata var. australis Schipczinsky, I.e.P.obovata var. typica Makino in Bot. Mag. Tokyo, 12, 302 (1898), et in Journ. JaP.Bot. 5, 9, P.33 (1928) ; Makino & Nemoto, Nlppon-Shokubutsu-S6ran {Fl. Japan), Ed. 2, P.332 (1931) P.oreogeton SP.Moore in Journ. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 17, 376 (1879) ; Komarov, Fl. U.R.S.S. 7, 26 (1937).? P.vernalis Mandl in Bot. Köz.1. 19, 90 (1921), et in Oesterr. Bot. Zeit. 71, 177, fig. 2 (1922) ; Komarov, Fl. U.R.S.S. 7. 27 (1937).P.Wittmanniana Lindl. sec. Finet & Gagnepain in Bull. Soc. Bot. France, 51, 525 (1904), et Contrib. Fl. Asie Or. 1, 222 (1905), non Lindl.

Description. Stem 40-60 cm. high, glabrous. Lower leaves bitemate; leaflets unequal, terminal usually obovate, laterals broadly oval or oblong, all shortly acuminate at the apex, cuneate or widely cuneate at the base, mostly 5-12 cm. long, 3-5-7 cm. wide, in fruit up to 14-5 cm. long and 8-5 cm. wide, thinly papery, dark green and glabrous above, glaucous and sparsely villose below. Flowers white to rose-purple, 7 cm. across. Stamens i -7 cm. long, filaments white or rose, anthers yellow. Carpels 2-3, glabrous, 2 cm. long, attenuated, stigma conspicuous, 5 mm. across. Follicles 3-3'5 cm. long.

Distribution. siberia : Amur, Maximowicz (K). manchuria : Upper Ussuri, Maximowicz Iter sec. anno 1860 (K) ; prov. Austro-Ussuriensis, Komarov 654 (K) ; River Sungatschi, Maak (K) ; between Mukden and Tung-che-shien, James (K) ; between Tung-che-shien and Maor Shan, Yaloo River, James (K) ; prov. Kirinensis, Komarov 614 (K) ; Sheng-king, Kwandien, Ross 07 (K). sachaline : near Kussunai, Fr. Schmidt (K). china : Chihii, frontier of Shansi, Chanet 7549 (K) ; Shansi, Tao-t'eou, Licent 2210 (K) (P) ; Ta-pai-shan, Licent 2817 (P) ; Szechwan, Tchen-keou-tin, Farges (K). japan : Central mountains 610-2120 metres, Maries (K) ; sine loc. Maries (K) ; mountains ofAomori, Faurie 413 (K).

Maximowicz first described Paeonia obovata in 1859 from plants collected in the Amur district, north of Vladivostock. The name refers to the obovate shape of the acuminate terminal leaflet. This species is spread over a wide area in north-eastern Asia from eastern Siberia through Manchuria to China and Korea ; several forms exist in this wide distribution, differing slightly from each other in the hairiness of the leaflets. Schipczinsky (1921) described variations which mainly differ in the flowers opening widely or not. P.obovata is a tetraploid. The long attenuated carpels are characteristic of this and the other species in this group.

S. Moore described as a new species P.oreogeton, a plant that he thought had yellow flowers ; in his description the flower is described as " lutea ? " The specimen Moore described is in the[end page 74] Kew Herbarium and is undoubtedly a typical white flowered specimen of P.obovata. In the American Paeony Society's Bulletin of December, 1939, there is an interesting article by A. S. Loukashkin of the Manchuria Research Institute, who describes finding a paeony on May 25, 1939, in the region of the station of Ertaohotze, 80 kilometres east of Harbin in the Tachinshan Mountains, N. Manchuria, and reproduces a photograph of a cream-coloured paeony which he names P.oreogeton. There may, therefore, be a cream-coloured form of P.obovata, but the dried specimens from Manchuria appear to be typical P.obovata.

P.vernalis Mandl, 1919, was described by Mandl from a specimen collected in the districts near Vladivostock and preserved in the herbarium at the Botanical Institution of the University of Vienna. From photographs of this specimen it appears to agree exactly with P.obovata Maxim.

P.vernalis was described as having glabrous leaves, a character in which it agrees with P.japonica, but the petals are described as " spreading radiating," in which respect it resembles P.obovata and is unlike P.japonica. Further, it is said to come from Siberia, which is the location of P.obovata. Mandl does not in his description refer to the leaves being glabrous but says " Near P.obovata Maxim, from which it differs by its short peduncle 7 cm. long (not 7-16 cm. long), which is always shorter than the upper leaves, by its bigger flower, by the petals spreading—radiating not connivent, white not rose, by the colour of the filaments (described as dark blue at base, white upwards) and by flowering 20-30 days later than P.obovata." These characters do not appear to be very important. It is therefore surprising that Mandl did not refer to the glabrous leaves in which it differs from P.obovata. There may, of course, be a variety of P.obovata with glabrous leaves, as Handel-Mazzetti refers to such a plant from Manchuria and Yunnan.

The leaves of P.obovata, as seen in the dried herbarium specimens, differ considerably in size. This is largely due to the curious feature shown by this species and by its variety Willmottiae that the leaves increase in size between the time the plant is in flower and the time when the fruit is ripe. This unusual character can be plainly seen if the dried fruiting specimens in the herbarium are compared with those that are only in flower. Collectors report that there are both pink and white flowered forms, but only the white form is in cultivation. It is a very beautiful garden plant but not easy to grow. It appears to grow best in good soil facing west, where it does not get the early morning sun. [end page 75]